Matthew 15:10-11 NIV
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. [11] What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
clean hands

   To give these verses some context we might look at what Jesus said further on down the passage.

19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. 20These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.”
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What do you think? Are there still traditions that we hang on to? How can we keep these traditions from taking first place in our hearts, over the love and instructions of Jesus? How can we keep our traditions from taking root in our hearts?

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. [26] Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

open bible

open bible – God’s word

Jesus knew the hearts of these Pharisees and teachers of the law. Maybe these religious leaders were focused on the outside appearance, something they and others could see. But that outside appearance didn’t change what was in thier hearts and that is where the real issues lie. 

With that in mind, here are three questions:

1.) How does a person get into this state where they focus only on the outward appearance?

2.) What does it take for God to get our attention and get us to focus on the inner life and our relationship with Jesus? 

3.) How can we keep the inside and the outside of the cup of our heart clean, or is that Jesus’ job?

 

Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” (What that means to you and me.)

prepare the way

Prepare the way

 

In John 14:2-4, Jesus is talking to His disciples. He tells them

“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

If you are reading this, then you are not at that place yet, but if you are a believer, you will be. You are included in this promise. If you belong to Jesus, then eternal life in Heaven belongs to you. It is God’s gift to you in Jesus. 

In Heaven, there will be no east and west, there will be no north or south.
No mean words will be heard when we are there, no bitterness or sin from the mouth.
Surrounded by love that will never end; that is the life we will be know.
In God’s kingdom of Heaven all sorrows will end as onward through glory we go.

 

Acknowledgements

This writer would like to acknowledge the following:

Jesus / Us / Eternity

Jesus is Lord
Jesus is the Savior of all who believe
Jesus died for my sins, and the sins of the whole world

We are not God. We are humans – frail, fallible, needing a Savior
We need Jesus all the time, and He is always there. Always.
We are forgiven, clean, redeemed, bought with the precious blood of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Eternity with Jesus will be worth the wait. No more pain. No more tears.
Eternity has been bought and paid for by Jesus at the cross.
Eternity is assured for those who are in Christ.

Thank you, Jesus, for dying for our sins, so we could be with You forever.

 

 

The air conditioner problem was both internal and external. How is that like us?

Outdoor air conditioner

                              Air conditioner

Yesterday our air conditioner started making an awful rattling noise. We noticed it in the morning and ignored it. By afternoon it was worse. We knew we needed to call a repairman. It was strange that the air conditioner was cooling good but is still sounded awful and smelled bad.

So what was the problem? The first problem the technician noticed is some insulation that was loose. It was getting sucked into the fan. We all thought this was an easy fix until the repairman noticed that the fan was off-kilter. It was out of balance. As a result, it damaged the bearings of the motor. So now we had a big problem. 

Today, two different repairmen came and put in the new fan and new motor. That new motor was so quiet we could hardly hear it running. The repairmen left and we waited for the new parts to work and to cool our house down. It was around 76 degrees when they left. So we waited, and waited, and waited, and the house kept getting hotter (83 degrees.) I reported the problem and soon found out the last piece of the puzzle. The reason the house was not cooling is that the outside unit was turned off. The repairman yesterday turned it off to keep the unit from coming on while he was doing his investigation.

So here’s how this applies to our lives.

The problem with the air conditioner started when something was loose and got sucked in. This happens to us, too, when we let sin creep into our lives. That may come from our not turning away when someone is not dressed decently or when they use foul language on TV, or even in person, or from other sources of temptation. At some point, we need to resist the evil around us and build a wall or protection around our heart, mind, and spirit. We need to keep the junk from settling into our heart. 

The other problem was that there was power on the inside unit (compare to Jesus in our heart), but no power to the outside unit. Sometimes we don’t apply the power we have in us by way of the Spirit and the power of the Word of God. We don’t do anything with it. We don’t act on the word.

So what do we need to do?

Application points:
1.) Keep junk, including bad attitudes and unforgiveness, from entering into your heart.

2.) Lay all that stuff aside and look to Jesus. We need to let Him in.

3.) Keep seeking the presence, the peace, and the power of God. His power is always there. We need to make ourselves available to it.

Hebrews 12: 1 – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

The case of the missing weight – and one we will never have to bear

 

                          This morning in our workout, one of the ladies couldn’t find her weight. She brought if from home, as she does every Wednesday. She knows she brought it with her and set it down with her inhaler. When it came time to use it, she couldn’t find it. She was frustrated. We were frustrated for her. We never did figure out what happened to it, or even if she had brought it. She has had that weight for eight years.

What is even more confusing is why we are looking for our weight of sin and guilt when it has been bought by the blood of Jesus. We make up reasons why God is not pleased with us, why He does not hear our prayers, why He is disappointed in us. For some of us, we feel that way because we forget things. For others, it is the fact that our bodies are slow or broken. Of course, who can forget about the guilt that “we could do a lot more, with a lot better attitude, and a lot less focus on ourselves.” Well, guess what. We could all say that, but that is not what God says about us.

God looks at us and sees one thing – The sinless, perfect, complete sacrifice of His Son. What is Jesus doing? He is covering you. He is praying for you. He is feeling everything you feel. He is declaring you clean, pure, holy, set apart, and bound for Heaven. He is comforting you. He is giving you blessed assurance. He is NOT condemning you or me. We live under the full authority of His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. We belong to Jesus, and He is not ashamed to call us His own. He is not looking for your weight. Why? Because He already took it at the cross.

 

Reflections on worship service this morning –
“Come Just as You Are”

Come Just as You Are

                                                                         Powerful moments in worship this morning


The invitation this morning at church tied several things from the worship service together. It was a powerful service that emphasized our need for Jesus and His willingness to receive us. The song Karen and I did interpretive movement to was “People Need the Lord” and the sermon was on asking the Lord these questions – “What do you want from me? What do you want me to do, Lord?” For the rich young ruler, it was to give up his property and possessions. For some, it might be to give up our time, our talent, our energy, or our strength to serve Him.

The point of the message was that Jesus deserves our heart-felt commitment to Him since He willingly gave Himself for us at the cross. I will remind us all that He did all this for us out of love. Let’s let our response to Him be done the same way. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Locked out and unable to succeed is the enemy’s plan, not God’s

unable to succeed

For some reason yesterday I was having strange issues with this website. I was able to view what was on it, but I was not able to add a post or make any other changes to the site. I suspect it is because I changed the theme (the layout) of the website, so that put a wrinkle on being able to log in. I tried logging in with Google and couldn’t remember my password. After three times it locked me out and told me to “try again in a few minutes.” I decided to wait until today, and as you can tell by this post, the problem has been resolved. 

As I reflected on this frustration and just kind of lingered and stewed in it for a little bit (as we all do sometimes) I realized something amazing and cool. God never locks us out. Our sin might, but our access to God through Jesus is not restricted at all. We are granted full access by the King of Kings to the throne room of almighty God. Wow!

Our log in my might be “Lord I need you” and the password is “Jesus”

Praise the Lord and pass the praise. Thank you, Jesus, for granting us access to this throne of grace.

 

Jesus the Great High Priest
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

P.S. Check out the share buttons on the left. This is part of the site makeover.

The Amazing Exchange of Grace for Sin

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

There is a lot of irony in the words above. Think about it. At one point I was lost, but not any more. Now I am found, like a lost sheep that the shepherd has rescued from the attack of the enemy. Even more ironic is to go from being blind to now being able to see. This is a total transformation.


But what caused this transformation? Was it our abilities? No. We didn’t make ourselves be found. We didn’t come looking for us. We didn’t just suddenly figure out, “Hey, I can see if I just make up my mind to do so. After all, its all about me and my abilities. Maybe I could even say “You know, I never was blind in the first place.” Well, we could say that, but that wouldn’t make any sense.


No, dear reader, the transformation was made at God’s initiative when He sent Jesus to die for our sins, in our place, as our substitute. It is all about grace. It is all about God. It is all about Jesus.

May God help us all to realize the incredible gift of grace and of eternal life, brought to you by the blood of God’s son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for grace.

grace for sin

Jesus was numbered with the transgressors sin

Eph. 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Changes are coming, starting with a NEW category for 100 prophecies

changes are comingNow that the 100 days of prophecies fulfilled by Jesus is completed (hard to believe!), I wanted to make a new category just for these amazing prophecies. To see any or all of them, look on the right hand side of the page and look for the “100 Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus”. They have been removed from the “Soul and Spirit” category.

I will also be working on changing the overall look of the site, deleting and moving things as necessary. I will be looking for a cleaner look that is more interactive and inviting. 

Stay tuned for these changes! Thank you for your support and may God deeply bless each and every one of you!